Nuclear bone scans

What is a nuclear bone scan?

A nuclear bone scan is a diagnostic test used to detect or rule out damage to bones. Disease, infection or injury may damage bones. A nuclear bone scan can detect damage caused by disease or infection earlier than other diagnostic procedures.

What will I experience during my nuclear bone scan?

When you arrive at the Nuclear Medicine area, the technician will insert an IV into a vein in your arm. A special “radioactive tracer” is injected into the IV. This “tracer” will show up in the pictures taken of your bones.

You will wait two to three hours for the radioactive material to be absorbed in the
bones before the pictures are taken. It is important to drink fluids while you wait.

Try to drink at least 1-2 quarts of liquid such as water, juice, soda, coffee or tea. You may
leave the Imaging Center to run errands or return home until it is time to take the test.

When it is time for the scan to be performed, you will lie on the exam table and the camera will be placed close to your body. It is important to lie still. The test takes 30-60 minutes.

Is the procedure painful?

Some people experience some discomfort from the IV. Others experience discomfort lying still on the exam time for an extended amount of time.

What happens to the radioactive material injected in my body?

Most of the radioactive material will be eliminated in your urine and stool. The rest will simply disappear over time.

When can I resume my normal daily activities?

You can resume your normal daily activities immediately after the test.

Who interprets the results? Who will tell me the results?

A doctor who has specialized training in nuclear medicine will interpret the images of
your bones. A report will be dictated and sent to your doctor.

It usually takes 1-2 days for your doctor to receive the results. Contact your doctor for
your results.